Watch Sindhi Films by Filmmaker Kumar Shahani in Washington DC (one of the most significant filmmakers in India)

Forwarded by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia, USA

The Sindhis living in Washington DC are fortunate to have a wonderful opportunity to watch four films by a Sindhi Filmmaker Kumar Shahani, who is considered as one of the most significant filmmakers in India. The films are being screened at the Smithsonian Freer Gallery of Art during October 24 – November 2 period. The tickets are free.

For more information, click the following links: and
Those who do not live or cannot travel to Washington DC on the screening dates should contact famous museums and Art galleries in that area to find out if they have scheduled any screening of Mr. Shahani’s films.

The director Kumar Shahani was born in 1940 in Lakarna, Sindh (now
Pakistan). He trained at the Film and Television Institute of Poona (near Bombay).

Kumar Shahani is one of the most significant filmmakers working in India. He has developed an epic idiom that engages with contemporary issues. Shahani’s films explore cultural memories embedded in classical Indian art forms, texts and objects. His visual explorations of Indian music and dance, the classical Indian epic and contemporary literature mark his practice as unique in the history of Indian cinema. Shahani also engages with European cinematic traditions. His first feature, Mirror of Illusion (Maya Darpan) 1972, is regarded as India’s first formalist film. His oeuvre is considered alongside renowned directors — Pier Paolo Pasolini, Andrei Tarkovsky, Stanley Kubrick, Jacques Rivette and others — whose work is similarly entwined with the visual arts.
Fire in the Belly (1973) / Ages 15+
The Wave (Tarang) (1984) / Ages 15+
The Khayal Saga (Khayal Gatha) (1988) / Ages 15+
Kasba (1990) / Ages 15+
Immanence (Bhavantarana) (1991) / Ages 15+
Persistence of Vision (1996) / All ages
Four Chapters (Char Adhyay) (1997) / Ages 15+
The Bamboo Flute (Birah Bharyo Ghar Aangan Kone) (2000) / Ages 15+

The Khayal Saga
Friday, October 24, 2008, 7:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
The Khayal Saga weaves together the many legends and stories surrounding the vocal tradition of the khayal, a major element of Indian classical music. The history of the khayal is also a story of music’s relationship to classical Indian dance. Shahani’s treatment presents the khayal in all its richness through metaphors in images and sounds. The film is recognized internationally as one of the most important documents of this tradition. It won the FIPRESCI (International Federation of Film Critics) Prize at the Rotterdam International Film Festival in 1990.
India / 1988 / 103 min. / Hindi and Urdu with English subtitlesFilm notes by Kathryn Weir and Rachel O’Reilly for the Australian Cinémathèque.

The Wave
Sunday, October 26, 2008, 2:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
The Wave explores themes of conflict and betrayal when different worlds collide as a result of India’s industrialization. Rahul, the son-in-law and heir of an old industrialist, conceals his personal ambitions under a cloak of liberalism, while encouraging indigenous production. He clashes with Hansa, the industrialist’ s loyal daughter, and Dinesh, his cousin by marriage who is openly unscrupulous. The arrival of Janaki-a trade unionist’s widow and victim of industrialist ambition-drives the film towards its denouement. The Wave fully realizes Shahani’s epic cinematic form in which ancient myths unfold within a realist mode. Janaki metamorphoses into the Earth Mother Urvashi, a celestial embodiment of personal freedom. Her last words are a hymn from the Rig Veda.
India / 1984 / 171 min. / Hindi with English subtitles

Film notes by Kathryn Weir and Rachel O’Reilly for the Australian Cinémathèque.
The Bamboo Flute
Friday, October 31, 2008, 7:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
The Bamboo Flute is Kumar Shahani’s cinematic tribute to the flute and its importance to Indian civilization. Shahani depicts the flute-from its bamboo form (the bansuri) to the classical metal instrument (the veena)-as a primordial interpreter of natural sounds. It has been used throughout the history of the Indian subcontinent to stimulate thought and heighten perception, and it is written into Krishna’s experience of waking into an auditory world. The Bamboo Flute transforms auditory experience into a non-linear narrative, using synaesthetic images and motifs. The film’s visual sequencing is informed by the structure of classical bansuri music.
India / 2000 / 84 min. / Hindi and Tamil with English subtitles

Sunday, November 2, 2008, 2:00 pm, Meyer Auditorium
In Kasba, Shahani adapts the Anton Chekhov short story “In the Hollow” (1900) to an Indian context and uses visual codes drawn from the tradition of miniature painting from Kangra. The film uses this traditional art form as a framing device to explore themes of India’s industrialization and the emancipation of women. Protagonist Tejo is constructed as a Nayika, the iconic female figure in the tradition of Kangra miniatures (a local avatar of Radha). In Kasba, however, there is no Krishna (Nayaka, the male counterpart) to meet the Nayika’s passion; the object of her passion is displaced and she is instead enamored of money and independence. Kasba won the Indian Filmfare Critics award for best feature film in 1991.
India / 1990 / 115 min. / Hindi, Urdu, and Panjabi with English subtitles

Film notes by Kathryn Weir and Rachel O’Reilly for the Australian Cinémathèque.

Download an essay on Kumar Shahani’s films by Kathryn Weir (PDF, 4MB)

The Freer presents four of Shahani’s films in conjunction with the Sackler exhibition Garden and Cosmos.

Free tickets required.
Free tickets are required for films in the 300 seat Meyer Auditorium, located in the Freer Gallery. Up to two tickets per person are distributed at the auditorium one hour before show time.

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